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Being firewise saves lives

Stock photo.
Stock photo.
Image: 123RF/anyvidstudio

Having recently completed a fire-fighting course, I need to share a few pointers about fire awareness. Our lives revolve around fire and we depend on it for cooking, keeping ourselves warm, house chores and entertainment. However, fire can turn deadly when not supervised and used correctly.

During this time of the year, thousands of people are left homeless when their homes catch fire, especially in informal settlements. Even worse, raging fires can cause serious injuries, up to third degree burns.

It's not always the flame that is dangerous when a fire breaks out, the smoke has its dangers too as it reduces visibility and creates disorientation when people need to escape.

Children are more vulnerable because they need close supervision as they are not capable of making fast and wise judgments about what to do when a fire breaks out.

Matches, lighters must be kept safely and as far as possible from children as these are fire igniters. Fires are different from one to the other and one must be knowledgeable which method and extinguishers to use once the fire starts.

For example, you can use water to kill a wood and paper fire but you can't use water to kill electrical fire; you have to use powder extinguisher or sand to kill it.

Please, as much as we want to keep ourselves warm this winter, be careful of overloading electrical plugs as they contribute to starting fires.

Prevention is better than cure. Be firewise and save lives.

McDivett Khumbulani Tshehla, KwaMhlanga, Mpumalanga

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